Before I get into the final article of this SKYWARN Activation series I want to make a couple of additional comments on the Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO) statement and home weather stations.
The National Weather Service (NWS) may at times request specific information about a storm. They will do this at the bottom of the HWO statement. So, this is another reason why one should check the HWO statements often. Report this information to the NWS via the El Paso Office spotter’s hotline 800 874-6755 or via twitter (@NWSElPaso) if it will fit into 144 characters. If not make additional tweets.
The home weather stations can serve the NWS if they are connected to the Internet. Once connected to the internet it can automatically report data to the Citizens Weather Observer Program (CWOP) if the station has been registered with CWOP. Data from the CWOP is monitored by the NWS, emergency management, public safety officials as well as other weather spotters in the area. If the weather station is not connected to the Internet that is okay. The owner should make their own reports to the NWS.
Now, for the Post-Activation activities. Once the storm has past our job as weather spotters is not finished. I will initiate the Know Your Neighborhood Program. We will start taking damage reports for specific areas that was hit by the storm. This will give the NWS staff some extra eyes on the ground. You can find more information on the Know Your Neighborhood Program at www.hamradioelpaso.com/emergency-coordination, and scroll to the bottom of the page. Also, look at the Know Your Neighborhood List for a list of places to check in the zip code. Report any damages found to the net control station (NCS) at the NWS. By submitting photographs as well as a written report will be a great help to the meteorologists in compiling their damage reports after the storm.
As the Know Your Neighborhood paper states nobody knows the areas better than those who live in the areas. They know where flooding occurs most of the time and how to maneuver around in those areas. Not all people will be activated for this event. It would behoove us to download the Know Your Neighborhood List and start locating all the items on the list before they are needed. That way when an activation occurs the hard work will be done ahead of time. This will be a time saver when needed.
As I stated in last month’s article “doing paperwork.” For us to get credit for our services we must document the service performed. If it is not documented, then it did not happen. When SKYWARN is officially activated I will submit a Public Service Activity Report to the SEC and ARRL HQ. I will be asking for some information during the net for the report. One specific question that comes to mind is cost of the equipment used during the event. I will also ask for your logs and reports made to the NCS/NWS. This is a copy of the log entries from your station logs. These reports will become public record and will be maintained for one year.
Questions and comments regarding the content of this article are welcome and encouraged. Send an email to the address shown below.
Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT
Amateur Radio Emergency Service
DEC, District 6, WTX Section